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I have a netbook (HP Mini 110) that came preinstalled with Windows 7 Starter. I would like to install Linux on it for some time and later revert back to my Windows version. Is that possible? And how/where can I find the installation software for Windows 7 starter (my licenced copy)?

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Thanks everyone. My netbook does not have a CD drive, so I am now looking at generating recovery disks and installing via USB. Any advice would be helpful. – Muhammad Alkarouri Oct 4 '11 at 20:51

You would likely either have a recovery partition - which you can generate recovery disks from or be able to generate a system repair disk to use with your backups. If you cannot do either, make an image of the drive with clonezilla (which would not be a bad idea anyway)

I'd also suggest giving a liveusb(maybe with unetbootin, since that allows persistance), wubi if you run ubuntu) or running linux in a VM serious consideration.

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Or you could just not make it harder than it needs to be and dual-boot Ubuntu with Windows... :p – RobinJ Oct 4 '11 at 9:02
@RobinJ - add that as an answer! – DanBeale Oct 4 '11 at 9:08
The HP recovery partition is usually accessed by pressing a function key at boot up. F4 or F8, you then get the options mentioned above. – Tog Oct 4 '11 at 9:14
not much use if he wipes the disks. Usually restore disks are made from the OS, arn't they? – Journeyman Geek Oct 4 '11 at 9:16
I do have a recovery partition. I am looking at generating recovery disks, but it seems a bit complicated without a CD drive. While I try and figure it out, any advice? – Muhammad Alkarouri Oct 4 '11 at 20:54

If you just want to use Linux for a few days without the hassle of installing it, removing it, repartitioning, etc., just use a bootable USB drive. You can create one under Windows using unetbootin. This will let you use Linux without changing the hard disk at all. if you plan to use Linux for more than a few days, RobinJ's solution is probably better.

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Simply dual-boot Windows with Ubuntu (or any other distro). Then when you boot up your computer it leaves you with the choice of booting Ubuntu or Windows. Everything is explained here:

It's fairly straight-forward. Make sure you've got Windows installed first, boot your computer from the Ubuntu CD (so shut it down, put the CD in the tray, and (if needed) tell your PC to boot from the CD in stead of your hard disk), start the installation by double-clicking the icon you see on the desktop. The installation wizard will guide you easilly through the progress and when you come to the hard disk partitioning part you can just choose to install Ubuntu alongside Windows. It will then allow you to choose how many space you want to preserve for Windows and how many space you want to preserve for Ubuntu, as easy as that!

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I always worry when using an installer to partition drives, and partition it ahead of time (in this case, gparted would work fine). – Rob Oct 4 '11 at 15:02
This installer does its job fine :p You could partition it "ahead of time", but then it becomes a bit more complicated (you need to know how to usethe "Manual" option in the Ubuntu installer, wich is still pretty easy). – RobinJ Oct 4 '11 at 15:09
Yeah, I know it SHOULD, and usually DOES. Just paranoia from too many formats when installing or repairing windows when I was younger. – Rob Oct 4 '11 at 15:14
Also, the very first thing you should do is copy off the first 512 bytes of the HDD with dd and save it locally to the windows partition so you can restore it, since you'll have a bit of trouble fixing the MBR without a disc drive. – Rob Oct 4 '11 at 15:18
I appreciate the suggestion, but I don't think I need dual boot now. Also, I am a Fedora guy rather than Ubuntu.. – Muhammad Alkarouri Oct 4 '11 at 20:58

Make your HP Recovery Media before you install Linux or make Any Partition changes, use good quality DVD+R media.


Use Windows Disk Management to see how many partitions you have (some are hidden in explorer), if there are 4 partitions, then you will need to follow this guide on how to create a 5th partition without damaging your Windows installation.

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